The popular War Stories column, which presents humorous tales of life in the research trenches, has historically been compiled by Art Shulman, president of Shulman Research in Van Nuys, Calif. Each month in our e-newsletters we feature anecdotes from past War Stories columns and over time, we have received a handful of submissions from our e-newsletter readers who want to share their own outlandish or otherwise entertaining experiences of research gone just-slightly awry. Submit your own War Story today!

December 21, 2020

Art Shulman recalls conducting focus groups with girls ages 6 to 8 about a new toy called Showtime Stables. One of the objectives was to determine the extent to which the product's commercial was noticeable in a clutter reel of commercials. When they told the hostess, who was unaware of the test product, that they were ready to begin, she went to the lobby where the kids were waiting and announced, "OK ladies, it's showtime."

December 8, 2020

Gary White recalls a focus group he was moderating for a major food manufacturer on the subject of natural foods. One cynical man felt he was making a good point when he said, "These days everything is natural. Diphtheria's natural."

November 30, 2020 

The owner of several focus facilities, requesting anonymity, reports she'd recently opened a beautiful new facility. The day it opened, a regular client sent over a huge flower arrangement, which the service proudly displayed. The next day, the owner noticed the flowers were drooping and dying, and decided to toss them out. But as soon as she removed the flowers from the vase, thousands of gnats flew out.At that evening's focus sessions, respondents were very animated. Not because of the test product but because of the hordes of gnats swarming around them.

November 16, 2020

Sharon Livingston tells about a speaker delivering a talk on how to avoid presentation jitter...